Do you dream about ditching the hectic city life for a simpler, slower pace of life in the country? We talk to former city dwellers who did just that. They share their stories and advice for leaving behind the rat race and buying a slice of the American dream.
Anne is the author of four books, including Can't Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation. She grew up in Lewiston, Idaho, and has lived in many small towns over the course of her life, including Walla Walla, Washington, and Putney, Vermont. She writes the newsletter Culture Study and currently lives on Lummi Island, Washington, with her partner and two dogs.
Erin and Ben walk us through their journey of revitalizing Erin’s hometown of Laurel, Mississippi. We discuss their role in stewarding American craftsmanship and how vital it is to a town’s livelihood. We also chat about the biggest small-town misconceptions: Is it possible to have a big career and will there be enough entertainment, arts and culture?
Known as the “hit recording capital of the world,” Muscle Shoals has had some of the biggest names in music history — like Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan — record hit songs here. Traci is lucky enough to call Muscle Shoals Sound Studio a second home. She is the longtime manager of musician Jason Isbell. Together, she and Jason founded the music festival, ShoalsFest. Traci shares what it was like moving from Nashville to Muscle Shoals, and about falling in love with her early 1900s Queen Anne home.
Guthrie, once the capital of Oklahoma, is a picturesque town that could easily serve as a movie set. Filled with Victorian-era buildings, its downtown is the largest historic preservation district in the nation. But there was a time when Guthrie suffered a decline in population and economic growth because people left for bigger cities. We talk to Heady Coleman, one of the people responsible for Guthrie's revitalization. Heady is a community leader and pastor who grew up in Guthrie and moved back later in life. He hosts the Guthrie America Podcast, which has helped foster Guthrie's strong community pride.
Brian Brigantti was a lifelong city resident. Raised in Chicago, he then moved to New York City to pursue a career in art and photography. But then love changed everything (as it always does) and Brian found himself moving to a farm in rural Tennessee with his new partner Domonick. Fast forward a couple of years, Brian has fully embraced country living and he regularly shares all his gardening and homesteading knowledge with his 2.3 million followers on TikTok. We talk to Brian and Domonick about the adjustment to farm life and the unexpected pleasure of getting close to your neighbors.
The pandemic and remote work got a lot of city dwellers rethinking their living situation. We talk to some urbanites considering making the move to small-town life. Laura and Anders of Minneapolis yearn for a simpler life but are concerned about leaving the big-city conveniences. Then we hear from Anna, who is contemplating leaving the city after a break-up made her housing situation financially difficult.
In this episode, Anne travels to a small town close to her heart — Walla Walla, Washington. There, she meets up with her former college classmate Michelle Morales who grew up in Walla Walla and is now working in the prosecutor’s office. Michelle shares what it was like growing up in Walla Walla, why she left and came back, and why being a public servant is important to her.
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